Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 35 - 9/30/2013

Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful I am for this past week. It was the best! Everyday I just find another reason to be sooooo grateful and I am just so happy! This week was AWESOME because I actually got to work and teach! WHOOHOOO!!!! A full day. My first full day in 56 days... that's crazy. And we rode a motorcycle and discovered this little barangay (community thing?) that was absolutely beautiful! Right along the beach, so picturesque. We discovered missionaries haven't been there in a very very long time so lots of potentials. We even found someone with a TEXAS license plate on their gate! Who knows, we might come back and teach them. Then we taught a lesson to a lady at the back of her house, aka the beach. It was overcast and the sound of the waves, smell of the sea, and preaching the gospel in cebuano, does it get any better than that? Don't think so! Since we've been traveling a lot this week I have a new hobby of taking random pictures of scenery as we pass- especially from the motorcycles and I've caught some pretty priceless stuff. And then we went to this other far away place and hiked through the mud of the bukid(jungle) and went to the house of our investigator right on the beach. It had just rained and it was on a hill so it was pretty slippery! It's a blessing we made it unscathed but the nay that lived there came in just  covered in mud cause she slipped. And their front porch area is just right on the shore.  Can you imagine? I got plenty of pictures. We actually didn't get to teach very much this week with the various activities that need to be done as a missionary but that one day was so good. One day, we helped with a family history activity which was so cool! Didn't expect I would be doing that! The district (like the stake) planned the activities and set up 4 computers in the meetinghouse and we just helped people figure out which is the coolest thing ever by the way! The new website? So great! And everyone we helped were SO grateful, it was just a really cool experience and really helped me remember the importance of family history and temple work. It's harder here because there aren't too many records so it basically includes asking your grandma who she remembers, but the work is making great progress here mostly because it started with nothing not that long ago so they still have a long way to go! 

Friday was apartment cleaning day. We thought for sure it wouldn't take all day, but it did! But it was so fun! Cleaning, fun? I sound like mom, huh? haha we waxed the floor (it's cement) and it's like a whole new apartment! And then we had one awesome lesson that night about the temple. The spirit was so strong and we didn't have much time to prepare that day, but a few days before, we had planned to teach that lesson so we did a role play and it made a huge difference! It's official, the temple is for sure my favorite lesson ever to teach because no matter who you are, what your circumstance, you want to go to the temple because it really is the greatest place on earth. 

Saturday we went to Tacloban! And that just takes the whole day. But it was so good because my eye is 1,000,000X better! yay! The infection is gone and I'm continuing eye drops for a few more weeks to help it continue. Every time  I see President Andaya, he says- No more contact lenses, ha? haha sempre! (of course!) 

And Sunday was the most adventurous day of all and just the funniest. It was district conference in Biliran which is like 40 minutes away. It's hard enough for people to get to church, how are they going to travel all that way? Luckily, Pres. Ang (our Branch president) is just the greatest and we all met at the church and he pulled up in his truck he uses to hall all the pigs for his slaughterhouse and we put a bunch of chairs in and piled on the back. Sister Estes told me how she once described the van rides here in the Philippines as a roller coaster  and as we were sitting on the back of that truck, there has never been a more accurate analogy. We were just flying and the roads are already crazy curvy anyway! and the scenery is just gorgeous... it was just the best! So much fun and it definitely helped our branch feel more united I think! we fit 35 of us in there! Only in the philippines and even for here, it doesn't happen super often. Seeing the looks of everyone's faces from their houses on the side of the road were just priceless. Imagine seeing a truck with 35 people in their sunday best sitting in the back of a truck flying down the highway! And then we got to listen to a bunch of awesome speakers. The saddest were to hear Elder and Sister Judd- a senior couple who are going home next week! They basically said a farewell and even sang a cute little song. I teared up just thinking about when I'll be going home. And then I learned that another sister that had a sickness similar to mine, except wayyy more extreme just went home early- it's so sad! especially cause we just talked about how much we just wanted to get back to work...I am just sooo soo soo grateful that I'm still here and doing so much better! I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and even if I had gone home, I would still know that. I have learned sooo much all my trials and sicknesses and I'm just so happy to be here. In case you didn't know, I love the Philippines so much, two of my favorite quotes from yesterday were, " I think I was a Filipino in heaven." and "One thing I have learned in the Philippines is...'There's always room for one more" haha so true. And then Sister Estes said on the way here, "I think this is the funniest place in the world." And that's so true too! I just love everything about it! I hope I can accurately capture it all for you! Not only do I love it here, but I love the Lord and love this work. Just thinking of how much I have been helped while I've been here- with sickness, language, everything!- There is no doubt in my mind that it's true! And the holy ghost is so real and so present in everything that we do. Thank you all so much for everything! Now a quote from Pres. Hinckley's talk- "It's true isn't it? Then nothing else matters." 

Sister Pike               

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 34 - 9/23/2013

I just feel like the most blessed person this week. A few weeks ago, I found out there would be a trainers/trainees meeting and I was so bummed because my whole batch( all the sisters I came with) are training. Actually all the sisters basically! Except me! So I was sad I wouldn't get to see them. Then, last Sunday, I was told that all the foreingers needed to go to Tacloban on Wednesday if they're going home by July to be fingerprinted due to a new policy in the Philippines. And that's the same day as the as the meeting! So I was so stoked! So my whole zone goes because they are all training/ foreigners except Sister Repollo and Estes because they don't need to go yet and I can just go with everyone else. So we left at 4 am and got there and I saw all the sisters! And it was the happiest reunion ever! Especially since everyone knew about my sicknesses and were worried but i was doing so much better! And I got to see my Nay (Sister Somera) one last time before she goes home! It was just the best. So they get people to start being fingerprinted so we're waiting in line, there is like a million of us. and then they are starting the trainer/trainee meeting. So I wait still then Pres. Andaya says, "why aren't you going sister?" And I said, "I'm not a trainer!" "Well, they are out of paperwork right now so you should just join them!" So I did and I got to be with everyone still and the training was awesome and then we ate lunch and everyone just talked and caught up then I remembered, "Oh yeah, I'm here to get fingerprinted and it never happened! I should follow up on that!" So I ask someone and they said, "oh they're out of forms. There was a misunderstanding, only the people going home before January were supposed to come so they're coming back for everyone else in October." So I literally was not even supposed to be there, I didn't even do what I came to do but I got to see everyone! And I didn't realize how special it was until I was saying good-bye to my really good friend, Sister Robinson who said, well, see you maybe for Christmas Conference, maybe not even then. I forget how rare these opportunities are to see other missionaries! So grateful.

I rested the other days this week and Sister Repollo went home yesterday so I'm officially getting back to work and I'm so excited! This is a good week because there are lots of other activities so we won't be working too hard and I will not push myself. Sister Estes and I actually haven't taught a lesson yet but it should be interesting considering she hasn't been here super long and I not completely there on my Cebuano yet but it will be great. Be ready for lots more adventures to come, I am sure haha The more I talk to others, the more I realized, it's not my mission that's adventurous, it's mostly just me... the craziest things happen! It's way fun though. Then we had a birthday feast for Sister Repollo on Saturday, homemade fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy with corn... introducing her to American food! And we ate the Mac and Cheese from jenny's box the day before and we made s'mores that night. She loved it! I love introducing American food to my pinay companions. 

The past two days we had brown outs like all day which made our ward FHE on Saturday and Church on Sunday very interesting. Church was sooo hot, definitely appreciate the fans. And the Fhe was actually really awesome because we needed to use candles and it definitely brought an added reverence and attention to the speakers. Sunday, our investigators didn't come to church for really random reasons and then next weekend is district conference in Biliran so we have to drive super far away so it will be really hard to have people to come. But I'm sooooo excited to get to know all the people and the area, there is only a few weeks left in the transfer and if Sister estes gets transferred, it could be trouble, so I need to learn everything as fast as possible! My eye is so much better and I have another follow-up appt. in Tacloban this Saturday. And that's about it! I just feel so blessed to be a missionary here and it's amazing how much you can learn studying all day long! I really have loved it so much and I don't even get bored! And I'm excited to be able to learn Cebuano better by teaching lessons and just getting back into the flow of teaching. Thanks for all your support!

Love, Sister Pike 


Our Branch's meeting house

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week 33 - 9/16/2013


I am doing so good! My eye is 1000x better, I can open it, it's not red, it doesn't hurt, thank goodness for medicine! I went to Tacloban for a checkup and she said continue the medicine for 2 more weeks because there is still signs of the infection but it is sooo much better. I also don't really take naps anymore during the day even though I'm by myself all the time in the apartment so that's really some great progress. Don't worry though, I will for sure not push myself, I will take it nice and easy! This week was so good, I love my companions so much and we had such an amazing unique experience at church yesterday! And the Cebuano is coming back quite nicely, I'm so amazed how quickly it replaced waray-waray as my natural reaction! Especially since I don't even use it all day. I will never not need the gift of tongues here, such a huge blessing! 

I've officially started learning new language # 4 and I did not expect this in the slightest! American Sign Language! Yesterday a deaf man came to church so me with my one semester of high school ASL and my companion who took one semester at BYU were talking to him. He's talked to the elders a bunch and has come to church sometimes even though he can't really understand it and has been reading the English Book of Mormon. We taught our first lesson to him in a classroom after church using sign language, finger-spelling, the chalk board to write down english and a gospel principles so he could read the basics then ask us questions if he had any! He would teach us the various signs as we went and I was amazed how much we remembered from our previous classes and of what he taught us. It was also so cool because we were so focused on making sure he understood (which is how all lessons should be but sometimes missionaries forget!) and it was so active and interactive and he was so excited! He wants to get baptized! Just like a sponge, wanting to learn everything. He wants us to stay so he can continue learning! That's one problem if he does get baptized is after we transfer, who will talk to him? But he came to church multiple times without us and can read so that's a good sign. This is just another reason why I know for a fact I'm supposed to be here right now. What are the odds that both of us have a background of ASL and we're companions here? I've met some deaf people before who were doing sign language but it must have been some filipino sign language because I didn't recognize a thing so the fact that he knows it and English? Such a blessing!

And then last night it was soooo rainy the night before so our apartment was infested with cockroaches! Luckily I'm a pro at killing them and it's actually pretty fun, not gonna lie. I killed 12 in like 10 minutes! We've never seen that many ever! It was quite the adventure. Oh and earlier this week our toliet was clogged for 3 days... that was interesting. Luckily there are members who live down the street that have a huge house and let us use it whenever. I don't know what we would've done! 

I think it's amazing that even though I spent the whole week inside, I loved it so much! I love being back on a normal study schedule with companions... I've missed it, President Andaya was so inspired to let me come here! I just read and study and sister Estes' ipod is full of general conference talks so I learn so much and haven't even gotten bored yet! This week I'm still taking it easy and resting, but it's only a matter of time before I'll be able to start teaching again. I seriously feel so much better it's unreal! Oh and while I was in Tacloban, I got I really awesome native scripture case! So legit.

My companions!

On the bus ride to Tacloban

In the mission office- Elder Parsons was in my FHE family at the Riviera and Sister Estes was also in that ward that year. Small world!

My dead cockroaches... seriously this was in like 5 min, it was crazy!

The 3 of us fitting in a pedicab on the way here

My new scripture case! only 300 pesos = 6 ish dollars

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 32 - 9/9/2013

Hello Family!

Wow, this was a crazy week. And that's saying something! So you know

how I was cleared to go to my area last week?! I was so excited! Then
I woke up the next morning to leave and couldn't open my eye! Turns
out the week before I had worn contacts to a zone activity and it got
infected and it hurt for like a day but then it went away all week so
I thought it was all good! (I was using eye drops from when this had
happened before) But it came back stronger than ever. I  went to the
eye doctor on tuesday and wednesday, they gave me like a billion eye
drops to put in every hour and I stayed in Tacloban and just
slept...Everyone keeps asking how my other sickness is but I honestly
can't tell because with this one I just want to sleep all day because
it hurts to have my eye open! On Saturday I had my followup
appointment and she said it was doing so much better and I just need
to continue resting and using my medicine and not working basically.
So I thought for sure I would stay in Tacloban for another week, but
my mission president sent me to my area Saturday night and I was so
excited! And get this- weirdest thing ever- my companion has been with
a branch missionary while I was in Tacloban getting checked up and
since I still can't really go out and work that much because of my
eye, he gave me a cell phone and told me to go to my area, we will
plan and study together, all 3 of us, and then I will stay and rest
and recover with a cell phone in case of emergencies while they go
teach lessons! It's genius! and I'm pretty sure it never happens ever!

And so I got to go to my branch, Naval branch, yesterday and it was so
great! We meet in a tiny little meetinghouse that's so full and so
cramped, but so reverent and the members are so kind and caring. I
loved my members in Catarman, but it's so refreshing to be here. So
much smaller and less professionals which makes it easier I think
because everyone is on the same level. Then after church, everyone
hung out and just talked with each other then they fed us all lunch
and it was so great! And we talked with the Branch President and our
investigator who needs help getting married before she gets baptized
and he seems just so awesome and so caring. I gave a talk in sacrament
and I warned that I still not very good at Cebuano cause I've been
speaking waray-waray for the past 6 months so they said, that's fine!
Just say it in Waray! So I did and threw in the Cebuano words I could
remember from the MTC oh so long ago. It went super well! Biliran is
the little island of my mission and it's so halo-halo(mixed) that I
can basically keep talking waray-waray and they can understand, but it
shouldn't be too hard to switch. But it's nice to have a buffer.

I'm in a trio right now with Sister Estes and Sister Repollo! Sister
Repollo is from Ormoc (cebuano area of our mission) and returned from
her mission in Quezon City North in April so she is so awesome! She
said she has never had an american companion or been in a trio so this
is new for her! Who knew these firsts would happen AFTER her mission?
haha They are both really awesome and I love them a lot! This morning
Sister Estes has been sick so we haven't done anything but there was a
zone activity were they went to the zoo with snakes and monkeys and
ligers... hopefully I'll get to go at some point, sounds interesting!
I have another eye appointment on Saturday so hopefully I will get
back to work soon! But right now I am so grateful for this other
sickness. Why? Because it buys me even more time to rest and get
better from my other sickness (which I still haven't gotten the
results for). I'm pretty sure if they had known that I wouldn't be
able to work for 6 weeks when this started, they would've sent me home
or something which would've been the worst! but the way it's working
actually works pretty perfectly! I get to stay while my companions can
still work and aren't affected. I just feel so blessed! And despite
all my sickness, I am really happy. The other day in Tacloban while I
only could use one eye, I was waiting for someone so I decided to play
volleyball against the wall. Another sister walked in and said, "Wow,
you are the only person that would play volleyball with only one eye
and be whistling a hymn! You are an anomaly! (or something like that).
It was so fun to be in Tacloban for that long because I had so many
"companions" and just got to know so many people! So fun.

Love, Sister Pike

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 31 - 9/2/2013

Well, this week was the weirdest of my life! And that's saying something! Every transfer day, we always make guesses and all in all we say, "expect the unexpected" because no matter what we guess, we are so surprised and blown away and this transfer was no different. I thought FOR SURE I wouldn't be transferred because I just got back to my area! I haven't worked there in a month! My trainee only worked there for one week so she still doesn't know all the people or where they live... So when we got the call on wednesday, Sister Doud answered and the ZL told her SHE was transferring then he figured out that she wasn't me so he said I was transferring, AHHH!!! All other transfers, I had been semi-ready but this one caught me SO off guard. Not to mention the other sisters were gone so I didn't get to say good-bye and We didn't even get to say goodbye to anyone in our area because I just packed all day! It was so sad. But then, President Andaya called me later that night and told me I would be going to the mission office in Tacloban for a few days before I transferred to follow-up with Sister Andaya- the mission nurse and he told me you will be going to Biliran Zone! Which is basically the only place in the mission I've actually ever wanted to go because EVERY SINGLE MISSIONARY who has been assigned there has told me it was the best and that I should go there. I always replayed, "Ok, I'll work on that!" (sarcastically) but I was soooo excited. And I'll be speaking... CEBUANO!!! You know, that language that I learned for 6 weeks in the MTC and haven't used in over a 6 months... haha This should be fun. Im actually so excited to be able to actually use the Book of Mormon in my mission language now! and have actual books to study from! And I will be follow-up training Sister Estes meaning she just finished her 3 months of training and she is also the one sister I've wanted to be companions with because she was in my ward at BYU two years ago!!! And I hear nothing but the best about her from everyone, I'm so excited. And I hear my area- Naval (pronounced like navol) is basically one of the best. One of the most beautiful areas in the mission with an awesome, loving branch... I can't wait to meet them all.

I was SO sad to find out I was leaving Catarman because I love them all so much! But as soon as I left, it's like I felt this burden lifted like it's okay now that I'm not there because it's not my responsibility anymore because my calling as a missionary there has ended... It was really surprising to me and very unexpected. I was also so sad to leave my beloved zone, but I'm excited to get to know other missionaries as well. It's like the more you move, the more you get to know and love so your group of friends keeps growing and growing and you never really lose any because when you are reunited, you're still the best of friends even though you've been separated for a time. We always joke that with new areas, language and missionaries, it's basically like a whole new mission! so my second mission is about to begin! 

I love you all! I hope you have an awesome Europe trip! They still haven't told me much about the test results, but I'll ask them before I go to my area I think. Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers. I know that I would be nowhere without the gospel in my life. Life is so hard and never goes the way you plan it, but through all the simple things and commandments, we can find true happiness and direction in our lives and so much comfort when we are going through a hard time. I would be so lost without it! 

Love, Sister Pike
Costco! (aka S&R)


Kate's 1 month old baby! With Mary Anne - a ward missionary